Mites in the kitchen infest your stored food in the pantry, making them stale.
These mites will slowly sneak inside the food storage jars and feed and breed on the stored foods.
In this guide, you’ll find out the five most common mites in the kitchen.
Some of these mites are microscopic. So, they can be hard to spot when their numbers are low.
However, you’ll learn to identify their signs in your kitchen pantry. And you’ll also find out the proven ways to get rid of kitchen mites without using chemicals.
Let’s dive in.
5 Types Of Mites In Kitchen And Kitchen Pantry
- Psocids mites
- Mold mites
- Grain mites
- Spider mites
- Clover mites
Psocids mites and mold mites are moisture mites. It means that they sneak inside homes when there’s an increase in dampness or when the weather outdoors becomes too hot and dry.
Spider mites and clover mites can be accidental intruders into your kitchen if they’re on your property.
You bring grain mites or flour mites home by buying food packets and grain bags with grain mites in them.
Let’s get into each of these mites and find their signs and how to get rid of them.
Psocids Mites In Kitchen
Psocids mites, also known as booklice, are tiny brownish mites that infest stored food, especially rice, in the kitchen pantry.
These mites enter homes from the outdoors when the weather is too hot or dry.
However, psocids mites can also latch onto books, newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes to get inside the house.
Psocids mites are not microscopic. But they’re tiny, growing up to 1 to 2 mm in size.
They’re oval and brown, and on a casual look, many people can confuse them with bed bugs.
Psocids mites are moisture bugs. They feed on the molds and fungi that form on damp surfaces like wood, books, cardboard boxes, concrete, walls, and furniture.
The stored food grains get damp when your kitchen has water leakage problems.
The moisture spreads to the stored grains. That leads to the formation of molds on the grains.
The molds draw the psocids mites into the stored food jars, especially when they don’t shut the food jars or have gaps.
Psocids mites are tiny. So, initially they can escape your prying eyes.
But over time, their numbers increase because they multiply fast and because of the presence of moisture.
That causes the psocids mites to spill over from the kitchen storage jars and appear in places like kitchen countertops, shelves, and cupboards.
But psocids mites don’t cause any contamination of the food they infest. These are nuisance bugs.
But they lay eggs on the food grains, and the larvae will also feed on the molds on the grains.
Mold Mites In Kitchen
Mold mites are tiny white clear bugs that feed on the molds of damp surfaces like wood, wall, and concrete.
Mold mites are 0.3 mm in size, and their color changes depending on the color of the molds they eat.
So, they can turn grayish if they’re feeding on the black molds.
Wood mites are mold mites that feed on the molds that form on damp wood.
The wood mites appear as tiny white glittery dots on the damp wooden surfaces.
Mold mites come from the outdoors when the home develops high humidity. These mites develop on moldy surfaces and continuously feed on the molds that develop inside the home.
So, mold mites can spread onto anything with molds, including books and paper products.
Mold mites are harmless. However, they’ve got hairy bristles on their bodies which can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people.
Grain Mites In Kitchen – Tiny White Mites In Kitchen
Grain mites, also known as flour mites, are tiny white mites that infest stored food like flour of all types, stored grains, pasta, bread, and even baked foods.
But white isn’t the only color they have. They can be light brown too.
These mites are microscopic, and their size varies between 0.013 inches and 0.017 inches.
So, when their numbers are low, they’re difficult to spot.
The source of grain mites is the grocery store where you package foods and grains. When you buy them, flour mites or grain mites can be present in them.
People taking care of the grain houses and the grocery stores don’t bother to get rid of grain mites on their shelves because they’re extremely tiny and harmless.
But when you buy those packets with grain mites and pour the grains into your storage jars, you bring the grain mites into your kitchen pantry.
These grain mites or flour mites are fast breeders. And they’re the most common bugs that infest flour.
A single female grain mite can lay up to 800 eggs.
And the period from the eggs hatching to the formation of adult grain mites ready to breed is only two-three weeks.
So, their numbers shoot up fast.
When their numbers increase, grain mites or flour mites can spill over from the food storage jars to the pantry shelves.
Then you start to notice a layer of brownish-white dust on the kitchen pantry shelves.
Those are just grain mites. And the dusty appearance is also known as mites dust.
Foods with flour mites are safe to eat. You don’t need to throw away the flour or the stored grains they infest.
You can put the grains and flour in the deep freezer or under direct sunlight.
The extreme cold in the freezer and the direct sunlight kill the flour mites.
But if the flour has been lying in the storage jar for months and has developed a crispy brown layer with a minty smell, it’ll be best to discard the flour.
Spider Mites In Kitchen
Spider mites in the kitchen and home are an accidental occurrence because these mites move over to your kitchen from the houseplants that they infest.
These mites are plant pests that feed on the sap of the newly developed leaves in plants.
However, if there are plants with spider mites in your kitchen, these mites can appear in unlikely places like the kitchen shelves and kitchen pantry.
Spider mites don’t damage any type of stored food. And they don’t bite either.
Clover Mites In Kitchen – Tiny Red Mites In Kitchen
Clover mites are tiny red mites common during the spring and fall months when the temperatures are not extreme.
These mites are dark red and can appear as black mites while crawling.
Clover mites feed on plant matter and the grasses in the grass lawn. They sneak inside homes when their numbers outdoors overshoot or when the weather becomes too hot or cold.
Clover mites will use the thin gaps and cracks in the walls, window sills, and doors to get inside your home.
Inside your home, clover mites will occupy any random place. But they prefer to hide in soft furnishings like beds, couches, and carpets.
It can be clover mites if you notice any tiny red spider-like bug on your bed. Many people confuse clover mites with bed bugs.
Clover mites in the kitchen are also an accidental occurrence. They might have sneaked inside your kitchen through the gaps and cracks in the kitchen walls or windows.
Clover mites won’t damage stored food in your kitchen. Clover mites also don’t breed inside homes because the indoors are not their habitat to breed and lay eggs.
How To Get Rid Of Kitchen Mites?
Extensive cleaning, removing molds from the kitchen, fixing water leakages in kitchen sinks to control the moisture and to store your food in robust airtight jars to eliminate mites in the kitchen.
Clean the pantry shelves, cupboards, and the kitchen with hot soapy water or a mixture of white vinegar and water.
That’ll remove all the kitchen mites in these places.
Also, clean the kitchen storage jars with hot soapy water. Replace them with robust airtight jars if they’re weak or cracked.
Many pantry pests like grain beetles and rice moths can chew through the flimsy storage jars and access the stored food. So, using sturdy airtight jars is vital.
You’d also need to be cautious about food packets and grain bags from the grocery stores.
Don’t buy food packets or grain bags with holes or dusty layers. The dusty layer signifies grain mites that spilled over outside the food packet.
Pantry pests like flour beetles and Indianmeal moths also create holes in the food packets in the grocery stores to feed on the food and lay eggs inside the grain and food packets.
Bringing those packets home and pouring the food into the food container jars without checking them can start a pantry pest infestation in your kitchen.
Remove the molds from your kitchen’s walls, floors, and storage. Use a mold cleaner to eliminate the molds.
These molds are foods for mold mites and psocids mites. And if they’re in your kitchen, they can also spread to the stored food.
Leaky pipes are one of the reasons for higher dampness in your kitchen. The leaking water spreads into the kitchen storage, walls, and floors and increases the dampness levels.
So, fix any water leakages underneath kitchen sinks and faucets.
Sealing the gaps and cracks in your windows will prevent clover mites from entering your home.
Checking the houseplants for spider mites and removing them from the plants will prevent any accidental appearance of spider mites in your home and kitchen.
The common mites in the kitchen are grain mites, psocids mites, mold mites, spider mites, and clover mites.
Grain mites, psocids mites, and mold mites can target the stored food in your kitchen.
The spider mites and clover mites are accidental intruders in your kitchen and home.
This guide revealed the sources of these mites and what you can do to eliminate them and stop them from spreading in your home and kitchen.
Thomas Orbert is a PhD in entomology with specialization in tiny and microscopic pests. Thomas is a regular contributor to our site and shares failproof methods to get rid of small pests.